Friday, January 4, 2013

Automate your Sitecore website deployment with PowerCore

I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it..."

In this blog post I want to free your mind and show you that automated website deployment is extremely easy these days. Even when you have a web farm of hundreds Sitecore servers: if you can describe deployment procedure using checklist - you can automate it with PowerShell.

I've seen most complicated scenarios ever, with many external systems involved, thirty-pages deployment manual and weird logic of making decisions when it comes to naming databases or folders. And PowerShell  did its job, saved tons of time for developers and allowed us to automate 100% of action items.

So, I'd like to share some helper cmdlets which can be used to create simple Sitecore website deployment script in something like 50 lines of code.

I've assembled them into the framework that you can find at GitHub repository - PowerCore. Here's the brief description of files:

Basic DB operations - backup / restore / execute, etc.

  • Create-Database
  • Restore-Database
  • Backup-Database
  • Attach-Database
  • Execute-File

Used to download / extract / package files, etc.

  • Download-File
  • Extract-Package
  • Set-Permissions
  • Unzip-Archive
  • Add-HostFileContent

All about editing .config files - web.config, include files, ConnectionStrings.config

  • Uncomment-ConfigSection
  • Set-ConnectionString
  • Set-SitecoreSetting
  • Set-ConfigAttribute
  • Set-ExecutionTimeout

and many other cmdlets

Used to create Sites / AppPools in IIS

  • Create-AppPool
  • Create-Site

Contains single commandlet which will Checkout / Revert / Update folder from specified SVN repository. It can be split into a few different ones, I plan to do it in future.

Includes single commandlet for invoking a web page

And here's the sample script that installs clean Sitecore website using the framework. Wrap it into Invoke-Command and execute remotely at multiple servers at a time if needed.
# Framework initialization
$scriptRoot = Split-Path (Resolve-Path $myInvocation.MyCommand.Path)

# Main variables
$siteName = "PowerCoreSample"
$licensePath = "C:\license.xml"
$sourcePath = "C:\Sitecore 6.5.0 rev."
$targetFolder = "E:\inetpub\wwwroot"

# Additional variables
$packageFileName = [System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($sourcePath)
$dataFolder = "$destination\$packageFileName\Data"
$websiteFolder = "$destination\$packageFileName\Website"
$serverName = $env:COMPUTERNAME
$sqlServerName = "$serverName\SQLEXPRESS"

# Main Script
Unzip-Archive $sourcePath $targetFolder

$server = New-Object ("Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server") $sqlServerName
$databases = "core", "master", "web"
foreach ($db in $databases)
    Attach-Database $server "$siteName.$db" "$targetFolder\$packageFileName\Databases\Sitecore.$db.mdf" "$destination\$packageFileName\Databases\Sitecore.$db.ldf"
 Set-ConnectionString "$websiteFolder\App_Config\ConnectionStrings.config" "$db" "Trusted_Connection=Yes;Data Source=$sqlServerName;Database=$siteName.$db"

Set-ConfigAttribute "$websiteFolder\web.config" "sitecore/sc.variable[@name='dataFolder']" "value" $dataFolder   

Copy-Item $licensePath $dataFolder
Create-AppPool $siteName "v4.0"
Create-Site $siteName "$siteName.local"  "$destination\$packageFileName"
Add-HostFileContent "" "$siteName.local"

If you have any questions regarding these scripts or just need help automating Sitecore deployment with PowerShell - do no hesitate to contact me! I'll be glad to help and also extend the framework.


  1. This looks pretty nice for initial from-scratch deployments. I've been working on a PowerShell-based deployment system for CI deployment of Sitecore (CD config transforms codebase cleanup, etc) you might be interested in:

  2. Did you consider implementing these as PowerShell modules? Modules don't have to be dot-sourced and get their own separate scopes so you can't pollute the global PS variable pool.

  3. Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, it's #1 in my personal wish list for the project, will do somewhere this week.

  4. Sitecore also has some PowerShell scripts they've released for creating sites from scratch and doing some hardening operations in case you hadn't seen them. They're not under much active development though and aren't really deployment specific:

    The harden script is interesting to me. I wonder if I can reimplement it as an XDT transform.